Wynn Ryder



Words: Paul Chapman

Images: Wynn Ryder


Wynn Ryder exhibited at West Studios in October last year, and his portrait work using paint markers brought new attention to not only his fantastic work but also the strong Northern Soul music scene in Chesterfield. We chat to Wynn and Charlotte Higgins from Derbyshire Voluntary Action (DVA) to find out what inspires him and how the exhibition came to be.


“I had around twenty-five small portraits from previous years' work, and I’d started a project documenting the Northern Soul scene in a series of paintings of people I’ve met and friends I’ve made at Northern Soul nights. It’s a personal and special series of paintings and I decided to use it as the theme for my show.”

Wynn has had an interest in art since he could first draw, he attended Chesterfield art college in 2001 and started to develop his style using layered pen work, a technique that is unique to Wynn and results in a look of layered acrylics.


“At the start I attended traditional art education classes to improve my painting skills, but I couldn’t get to grips with paint and brushes. I was much more comfortable using pens,” explains Wynn. “I love painting on scrap pieces of cardboard, rather than throwing boxes away, drawing on them, I love the texture and finish it gives.”


Wynn called into a pop-up shop hosted by Public Health, the event focused on mental health and Wynn was introduced to Charlotte Higgins from DVA.


Charlotte is involved in ‘Connect to’, a project that connects people in Chesterfield and Dronfield. She previously taught art and was amazed at how Wynn worked. They started talking about Wynn’s work and the possibility of holding an exhibition locally. Wynn jumped at the idea of showing his work. “I had around twenty-five small portraits from previous years' work, and I’d started a project documenting the Northern Soul scene in a series of paintings of people I’ve met and friends I’ve made at Northern Soul nights. It’s a personal and special series of paintings and I decided to use it as the theme for my show.”


I feel the Northern Soul scene locally is like many things in Chesterfield - there is a cultural scene, there are things happening, but often they are hidden away... maybe it’s S40 Local’s job to spread the news, like Wynn and his artwork?


The pieces are all monochrome, black, white and grey. “The work for the exhibition was all based-on photos; I met a photographer on the soul scene and we worked collaboratively on the pictures”


“Charlotte’s enthusiasm for my work really ignited a fire in me and inspired me to complete ten new large portraits in the run up to the launch date, some of my best work yet,” says Wynn.


“Art is very important to me, I love it. It gives me a purpose,”

Sarah Bell volunteers at DVA, and she helped Wynn and Charlotte get the exhibition set up and spread the news that it was ready to view.





At the launch Wynn invited along many of the people featured in his work. They had no idea he was planning the exhibition beforehand.


He had never really exhibited in the past and had never seen his work displayed and hanging together. He was apprehensive -

would people come and look, how would people react, what would they think?


He needn’t have been concerned; people’s responses were great. “I was overwhelmed by how positive they were,” says Wynn.


“I believe the most valuable thing anyone can give you is their time, so from the bottom of my heart I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who gave up their time to come to my show. Special mention must go to Sarah for her excitement and Charlotte for believing in me,”

“Art is very important to me, I love it. It gives me a purpose,” he explains. And he does it well.

It’s testament to the quality of his work that feedback was so positive.


Wynn has been supported through the process by DVA. “They gave me the opportunity to be creative and let me work in their office in the town centre. Having a change of environment helped my creativity.


“I believe the most valuable thing anyone can give you is their time, so from the bottom of my heart I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who gave up their time to come to my show. Special mention must go to Sarah for her excitement and Charlotte for believing in me,” says Wynn.


Wynn is presently working on a number of private commissions and is progressing a book that features the Northern Soul scene, which he hopes to exhibit at soul events in the future. Watch this space for more info.


It was a pleasure to chat with Wynn and Charlotte, to see how a little support, time and belief can make a significant change to an individual’s outlook and self-esteem.

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West Studios,

Sheffield Rd,

Chesterfield

S41 7LL


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paul@s40local.co.uk
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